Discovering Dinosaurs layer by layer

Posted on November 13th, 2017 - Fiona

The prehistoric world has always been a fascination to little ones. There is something about dinosaurs that really appeals to their imagination. The desire to learn about these ancient creatures, their habitat and lifestyle and master their funny names is endlessly sort after from one generation to the next. Toy models and floor mats in our holiday properties are always in use and dinosaurs are a favourite theme for our crafty activity hour each week. With this in mind I was thrilled to receive a copy of the Layer by Layer discovering Dinosaurs book complete with sounds from Quarto Kids. Read on to discover what we love about this book and how you can win your copy.


Discovering Dinosaurs Layaer by Layer book with sounds

A multi layered exploration of a prehistoric planet.

This book is perfect for young dinosaur lovers. The colourful illustrations are eye catching and bright while the interaction of lifting each flap to reveal a new layer of life in different areas of the world let each habitat evolve in front of your eyes. Add the sound effects to each scene and this book really comes to life. Children will visibly bury themselves in the mystical world of the book.


Reading discovering dinosaurs book at Coombe Mill Holidays


I can see us using this book here as an introduction to a dinosaur led activity hour and following up with hunting for the dinosaurs in our sand pit, or even creating a leafy dinosaur world. The possibilities are endless when imaginations are triggered by such a compelling book.



Need to know.

Size Approximately A4 8.268 in x 10.906 in / 210 mm x 277 mm
Author Anne Rooney
Illustrated by Suzanne Carpenter
Format Novelty book with Hardback cover, glossy card pages inside with glossy paper layers
Sounds Batteries included
Published by QED publishing (Quarto Group)
Age range 5 – 8
Price  £14.99
Stockists Quarto Knows online shop, Waterstones, Amazon


Win your Discovering Dinosaurs Layer by Layer book with Quarto and Coombe Mill

If you know someone who loves dinosaurs and would love to open this on Christmas morning why not enter to win. Simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.


Discovering Dinosaurs



We were sent our copy of discovering dinosaurs for the purpose of this review. All thoughts expressed here are my own. Our copy can be borrowed from the Coombe Mill Games room book shelves by our holiday makers.

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Country Gentleman or City Style this Winter

Posted on November 12th, 2017 - Fiona

Whether you live in the city or the countryside, you’ll want to looks stylish for the new season. As autumn fades and the nights draw in, those winter days out crunching through leaves, whether alone or with family and friends, give time to relax, to unwind and to reflect on the good things in life. Get yourself kitted out with this season’s must have clothing for town to countryside style and feel good wherever you go.


Country Gentleman or City Style fashion this winter : Jumper and trousers for men

Fashion for men

I used to think men had it easy, shorts and t shirt in summer, shirt and trousers with a sweater in winter. It turns out when shopping with my discerning teenager there is more to men’s fashion than meets the eye. It has to be the right brand, at the right price, in the right colour and the latest ‘in fashion’ style.  Thankfully help is at hand right from home with online shopping. We have been browsing for the perfect town to countryside style in jumpers this season and found a lovely selection from Jacamo. My son was quick to focus in on a Timberland jumper as the one for him and has been thrilled with the quality, softness and fit. Made from 100% organic cotton in a deep shade of blue it has that perfect understated style he was after; just right for at home here in the countryside or at college in the city.  


Timberland jumper winter style 2017 country gentleman to city style


He added to his collection with some Union Blues, black skinny jeans from the same site. Bang on trend, stylish and comfortable for a long day in college and yet stretchy and practical here on the farm. Dressed up or down it is a wardrobe staple this winter.


Union Blues Jeans skinny black winter fashion 2017


Feel right on trend where ever you go this season with these great country gentleman to city style wardrobe must haves. A few well chosen items will cover work, weekend breaks and chilling out with the family to give you understated classic style without costing the earth. 


We were sent our jumper and trouser choice free from the Jacamo website in return for this review. All images, thoughts and opinions are my own. 


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Something’s Fishy by Phaidon Books

Posted on November 6th, 2017 - Fiona

When it comes to books for young children I do like a simple catchy story that is fast paced with just a sentence or two a page and well illustrated.  I’m delighted to say that the latest book I have to share from Phaidon Books does all of these things. Come and meet the Penguin and his friends on a fishing adventure in Something’s Fishy.

The Storyline to Something’s Fishy

Penguin is off ice fishing but all is not going to plan. The fish are not biting and his polar animals friends are not helping as they question and crowd around. Penguin is becoming quite agitated by his friends’ comments and the lack of fish to show for his efforts, but what could be the problem? Read on to find out who will finally pull on Penguin’s line and what is so tempting.  

Written and Illustrated by Jean Gourounas this snowy tale will be perfect for Christmas and last well beyond as the story lends itself to the repetition and retelling that appeals to kids.


Pages from Something's Fishy Book

Need to Know

Format Hardback
Size 250 x 195mm: just under A4 paper size
Available from
Age range 2-6


Video preview of the book


Win your copy of Something’s fishy with Phaidon and Coombe Mill

If this humorous snowy tale is something that would appeal to your little one, why not enter to win yourself a copy. Simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.

Something’s Fishy


We were sent our copy of Something’s Fishy for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find our copy on the Coombe Mill Book shelves to borrow on holiday here. It would make perfect bedtime reading after a day on the farm or a little fishing in our lakes and river.



The Story Orchestra presents The Nutcracker

Posted on October 30th, 2017 - Fiona

There is something quite endearing about an old fashioned Christmas. Traditional stories of magic and cheer have gripped imaginations for decades. Quarto Kids have a delightful range of books bringing classical music together with classical stories. The latest is perfectly timed for Christmas and will have little ones dreaming of sugar plums and fairies. This is where the ballet festive favourite, The Nutcracker, dances into life with Tchaikovsky’s famous orchestral music.  If you have a little one excited for all that is festive and fun this season, why not take a step back from the modern images and sounds and indulge in a little traditional fantasy with this beautiful fusion of story and music.


The Story Orchestra Book The Nutcracker

What we love about The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker.

Each double page spread is a new scene from the ballet, supported by the original music. Not surprisingly the music fits a treat and brings the pages to life. It is the kind of story children will want to listen to over and over, imaginations developing with each repetition.  The illustrations by Jessica Courtney – Tickle are packed with detail so there is always something new to focus on with each read yet the pictures perfectly follow the story line of Clara with her magical present of the Nutcracker.


Double Page from the Nutcracker Book The Story Orchestra


With a bibliography of Tchaikovsky at the back and a glossary to help you understand the music there is real educational value in the book. It even invites you to listen to the clips alone and direct your own scenes to go with them.


The Story Orchestra The Nutcracker book with music from Tchaikovsky

Need to Know Facts

Retail Price: £14.99.
Illustrated by: Jessica Courtney – Tickle.
Produced by: Frances Lincoln for Quarto Kids.
Suitable for: Age 4/5 plus.
Available from: Quarto Kids online.
Format: Hardback, 24 pages, 10 music clips to press.
Batteries included:  3*AG – 13 button cell batteries.


Check out our little excerpt from the Nutcracker to see if The Story Orchestra book is for you.


Win your copy of The Nutcracker from The Story Orchestra Series 

For your chance to win this delightful story book set to music simply follow the instructions below:


The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker


We were sent our copy of the Nutcracker which we have enjoyed reading and left in the Coombe Mill Games Room for our holiday guests to enjoy this Christmas Season. All thoughts and opinions expressed on the book here are my own.

Lonely Planet Kids Animals and Dinosaurs

Posted on October 23rd, 2017 - Fiona

Here at Coombe Mill we love books that respect nature, teach kids about the world we live in with a view to protecting our planet and its inhabitants. Lonely Planet Kids does all of this and more with the most engaging books full of facts, clever illustrations and interactive sections. We are lucky enough to have been sent three exciting new releases to check out here on the farm and a set for you to win. ‘How Animals Build’ and the ‘Dinosaur Atlas’ are for younger children with the animal book for growing kids. All are impressive, weighty books we love and think you will too.


Win a Lonely Planet Kids Book Bundle

How Animals Build

I knew I was going to use this right from the start. The lift the flap and see each animal home, packed with information on everything from insects to owls, is enchanting and informative.


How animals Build Book from Lonely Planet Kids


We used our copy with the children here as part of a wild animal home hunt on the farm with animal crafts too. It was the perfect book for an afternoon of fun and I know I shall be referring to this one again.


Reading Where Animals Build at Coombe Mill Activity Hour

Dinosaur Atlas

For eager young dinosaur lovers, this book has it all. From life sized body parts like teeth and skulls to facts about where and how they lived this is a perfect resource with lift and tell flaps. I can’t wait to get our toy dinosaurs out and make the sandpit into an archaeological dig for the children after reading this book.


Dinosaur atlas from Lonely Planet Books

The Animals Book

This book is for the serious animal lover. Older children can discover all about the life and habitat of animals all over the globe and how we can live along side them and help to protect them too. A handy resource beautifully illustrated and designed to last.


The Animal Book by Lonely Planet Kids

Win your Lonely Planet Kids Animals and dinosaur book bundle worth over £40 with Coombe Mill

If you know someone who would love to receive these three stunning books this Christmas why not enter to win. Simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.


Win a Bundle of 3 Lonely Planet Kids books.


If you weren’t the lucky winner you can still benefit from 30% off any Lonely Planet Kids books by signing up to their newsletter 


We were sent our copies of these Lonely Planet Kids Animals and dinosaur books for the purpose of this review. They are a great resource we use for our themed educational farm actives and can be borrowed whilst on holiday here from the Coombe Mill games room. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.


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